Singapore Drops Airplane & Airport Mask Rules

Singapore will be changing its masking rules as of Monday, and I think this development is pretty noteworthy.

Singapore drops mask requirements on August 29

Among countries in Asia, Singapore has been leading the way when it comes to cautiously reopening. While the country at first took a zero tolerance approach toward the pandemic, the city-state has evolved over time, as vaccines and other treatments for coronavirus have improved.

As of Monday, August 29, 2022, Singapore will be dropping its mask requirements for most indoor settings. With this, private taxis and buses, flights and ferries, indoor retail areas, and retail pharmacies, will no longer require masks. Masks will only continue to be required on public transportation (buses, trains, and subways), and in healthcare facilities.

As it impacts aviation, this means that as of August 29, 2022, masks will no longer be required at Singapore Changi Airport, and masks will no longer be required onboard Singapore Airlines flights (or flights on other airlines to & from Singapore).

Masks will no longer be required at Singapore Changi

The only exception is for flights to & from destinations that still require masks, because in those cases the requirements will continue to be followed (this includes countries like Canada, Indonesia, and South Korea).

This is pretty remarkable, because Singapore is one of the few major countries in Asia that initially took strong precautions against the pandemic, but at this point life has more or less returned to normal, if people so choose.

Masks will no longer be required on flights to & from Singapore

Singapore’s coronavirus response has impressed me

We see a lot of criticism of government responses to the pandemic, but very little praise. Everyone has a different take on how governments should handle something like coronavirus, and there’s not one right or wrong answer.

Yes, most reasonable people don’t want unnecessary deaths, though there has to be a tradeoff between that and allowing people to live their lives in the long run. Similarly, we could also prevent unnecessary deaths by telling people to stay home and not get into cars, but most reasonable people can agree that’s not something the government should mandate.

The way I see things, Singapore did one of the best jobs of any country when it came to managing the pandemic:

  • I think it was important to take strong precautions at first, when treatment options were limited, healthcare systems were overwhelmed, personal protection was in short supply, and the death rate from the pandemic was high
  • However, as treatments to coronavirus emerged, and as we realized that coronavirus isn’t going anywhere, I think it was time to focus on a gradual transition to a new normal

I don’t think any country did that better than Singapore. At first the country took extreme precautions and pursued a zero coronavirus strategy, but as vaccines were rolled out, the country gradually lifted restrictions.

Many people correctly point out that the pandemic isn’t over, and that’s true. In the United States we’re seeing an average of nearly 500 deaths per day. That’s awful and sad. At the same time, when you look at the data:

  • The death rate among unvaccinated people is 6.7 per 100,000 people per week
  • The death rate among fully boosted people is 0.4 per 100,000 people per week

I don’t think more needs to be said there…

Speaking of Singapore, does everyone remember Singapore’s ridiculous [email protected] business travel concept, which was supposed to be expanded over time? I assume that has been scrapped at this point?

Bottom line

Singapore is dropping mask requirements for most indoor settings as of August 29, 2022. This includes both airports and flights, so you can expect that you’ll no longer have to mask at Singapore Changi Airport, or onboard Singapore Airlines (unless masks are required for the destination you’re traveling to).

This certainly makes the thought of taking the world’s longest flight, from New York to Singapore, a bit more pleasant.

What do you make of Singapore dropping mask requirements for air travel?

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